The intangible thing of “The ’59 Sound,” it didn’t mean anything about the ’50s. I didn’t imagine people banging on jukeboxes and Fonzie and all that. I’m not interested in any of that. To me, it reminded me of my grandmother and a time where simpler things were valued more. Friendships, relationships, and that kind of thing. There weren’t so many distractions. You didn’t have so many goals. Now, a kid grows up, and he could be anything. That’s great, but it’s also very daunting. Because which one of the anythings do you be?
I wasn’t sure which was my favorite record, but Handwritten was definitely a contender. Handwritten is one where the whole band was firing on all cylinders. We accepted our place in the world, we were playing in front of a lot of people, and there were a lot of people watching us. So we were just writing a record that was a good, fun record to listen to.
He was conscious, he seems keen to say, of the expectation that weighs on an artist making their second album: “When you do a second record, you have to sort of firm up what you’re gonna do. You’ve gotta be like, ‘Am I doing this kind of music? Or am I doing this kind of music?’” He explains further: “The first record that people do, you get a little leeway. You get like, ‘Oh! He tried some weird stuff, that’s cool.’ But then with the next one they’ve expected you to figure it out.”
“Whenever someone mentions a record, that’s when I step away. And the reason for that is because right now, I can’t see what a new Gaslight record would sound like. When you take the records that we’ve done that I’m very proud of – and I’m proud of all of them, even the later ones – I don’t know what I would add to that right now.”
We had call, and we were just like, ‘Hey, are we gonna just ignore this?’ I know we’re on hiatus — we’re not doing anything, everybody’s off doing their own thing, and everybody’s fine. But if we let this go, that says something. That would come across as apathetic to me. I was like, ‘I don’t feel apathetic about this. How do you guys feel?’ They didn’t feel apathetic at all. They felt like, yeah, we should probably do something.
Then we thought, ‘if we play some shows, what happens? Do we have to start the whole thing up again?’ What realized, well, no, because of this record, we can do what we did in the beginning, which is [anything] we wanted.
Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem joins us to kick off our second series, Critical Acclaim. Here, we explore how musicians, critics, and the people who fall into both cambs deal with music journalists, harsh reviews, and constant online criticism.
I really enjoyed this episode. If you’re a fan of The Gaslight Anthem, it’s definitely worth a listen.
“My goal used to be Bruce Springsteen’s career, being that famous and playing arenas. I don’t care about writing for that now. I’m just writing for me and having a good time. Now my goal is I just want to live a long time and I want to be like Wilco. I don’t know if Wilco’s ever had a top 40 hit, but they play to a lot of people and they do whatever they want. They change and they develop, I love that band’s career so God bless Jeff Tweedy.”